ACDIS 2019 Conference Review & Key Observations
Like many of you across the country, I also had the privilege of attending the recent 2019 ACDIS conference in Orlando, Florida. I say privilege because I know that there are many who would have liked to have attended, but were unable to due to reasons beyond their control.
While still fresh in my mind and still feeling the energy of the CDI representatives from across the country under one roof, I thought it would be valuable to share my key observations from the conference. We, at ClinIntell, had an overall positive experience and we hope that you did also. Based on these observations, there is a high probability that you did too.
Having had the pleasure of attending ACDIS for several years in succession, I believe I am well-qualified to make these observations. Over the years, I have noticed that the quality of my interactions and conversations with attendees and vendors alike have evolved...in a good way. We are starting to ask better questions, align what we do with other healthcare initiatives, and appreciate the need for CDI to evolve and adapt, thus, increasing the need for accurate and complete documentation in the shifting healthcare environment.
Typical examples include aligning our efforts with pay-for-performance initiatives, quality initiatives, and population health (thanks, Dr. Fee). This was evident not only in social and formal interactions, but also in the content of the presentations delivered. It was not very long ago when it was difficult for the industry to achieve critical mass in responding to some of these industry trends. Many were still trying to get leadership buy-in and support for what we do.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that we have overcome that problem completely just yet, but I do believe that based on the level of sophistication and growing C-suite awareness that I have encountered, CDI is gaining a foothold at the highest levels of many organizations, and rightfully so. This enables us, as stewards of CDI, to analyze what we do, how we can do it better, and tightly align our efforts with what our healthcare organizations are trying to accomplish in their respective communities.
At ClinIntell, many of you know that our niche is CDI data analytics, and even conversations along those lines have been very impressive. As an industry, we are traditionally critical thinkers from a clinical perspective, but not very data savvy (please take no offense to that; I, too, was once included in that group).
That said, the hunger to know more, ask the right questions, and challenge the status quo have caused many of us to develop a mindset that motivates us to know more, learn more, and accomplish more. This needs to continue, and while the finish line will always be edging further and further away, I believe we are on the right track.
While I don’t have access to the actual numbers of attendees and vendors, I’m pretty sure that I have seen their numbers grow over the years. From an attendee’s point of view, this may be attributed to the increase in the number of CDI professionals as a whole, or perhaps the willingness for organizations to sponsor attendance for their CDI staff. Either way, I like it and I’ll take it.
From a vendor standpoint, I see many new faces and some new company names. This is also a good sign since, as an industry, we have been able to support companies that help us deliver value in many shapes and forms, from staffing to technology.
Another observation that is unique to ACDIS is that it is one of the few shows where the attendees actually walk around talking with and frequently engaging with vendors. I think this ties in with the observation above, where many want to know what’s new, what’s innovative, and identify products or services that may benefit their organizations.
I have always believed, especially in CDI, that sometimes you cannot be a prophet in your own land. Engaging with and enlisting the services of a vendor can catalyze results using similar approaches that were less effective in the past. But it’s not just about engaging with vendors that you may work with in the future. ACDIS attendees are an approachable and personable group of individuals, which helps show the vendors/exhibitors that you appreciate them, as they do you.
Growth, however, is not limited to these few observations. The number of presentations, tracks, and presentations within each track also reflect growth over the years. The topics of focus ranged from data analytics to personal development; something that, not so long ago, was not evident. If you’re not growing, you’re dying, and I am glad to see that our industry is not on its death bed!
CDI is becoming sexy again! Of course, I don’t mean this in the literal sense (but feel free to interpret it that way, if you wish). What I mean by “becoming sexy again” is the quality of being exciting and appealing. I can gauge that by the titles of some of the attendees at this conference versus those of the past. I am seeing more Quality Directors, HIM Directors, VPMA’s, Medical Directors, and Physician Advisors.
It wasn’t long ago when it was on my wish list for physicians to have a larger presence at ACDIS. In fact, I saw that as a failure on our part as an industry to deliver the value proposition of CDI to medical leadership. The attendance of such individuals tells me that we are progressing in that regard, and that these clinical and/or administrative leaders are starting to find us attractive. Whether this is because of the evolution of healthcare as a whole, or due to us working tirelessly to deliver on CDI’s added value to healthcare, I don’t think we should be looking this gift horse in the mouth.
I predict that we will continue on this path for future conferences and that the audience of the future will be almost unrecognizable, let alone believable if you were an attendee back in 2009.
There were many other positive experiences at the 2019 ACDIS conference and I am sure that you have some too. All in all, I say: Keep up the good work! Our industry is nothing without you, and ACDIS is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”